Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spiritual Apathy

In my last post I commented on an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal concerning people’s attitudes towards God and church. I’d like to continue the discussion by providing some thoughts on spiritual apathy in this country.

I believe spiritual apathy comes about mainly because of lack of exposure to God and Scripture. You can’t care about what you don’t know. Today there are quite a few people who have little or no knowledge of God. They may have been in a church only a few times, usually for a funeral or wedding.

When I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s, more families went to church, at least it seems that way. There were no kids’ sports on Sunday and the stores were closed. Even if the parents didn’t attend worship, they often sent their kids to Sunday school or CCD so they would get a grounding in faith and morals. Many kids today have little or no concept of God or what church is about. Their ethics are situational and their morals are often lacking.

Another cause of apathy, and even hostility, is the negative portrayal of people of faith in the media. Devout Christians are ridiculed, and the stereotypes of “they’re all hypocrites” is put forth. Sadly, crooked televangelists and sex abuse scandals have hurt the church’s image.

Still another cause of apathy is the belief that you don’t need God. When things are going well, you feel you don’t need the “crutch” of faith in God. “I’m doing OK, I don’t need God.” When things aren’t going well, you might feel that God has let you down so why turn to him. It’s amazing that people blame God for bad things happening but give themselves or “luck” credit when good things happen. Which leads me to the final cause of apathy.

Finally, another cause of apathy is anger with God. I know a good number of people who were brought up in the faith but dropped out because they feel God let them down. They figure “Who needs God?” because God is unreliable, or is unable to prevent bad things from happening. You have a large number of Jewish people who feel that way because of the Holocaust (haShoah). Can you blame them?

Nevertheless, as a person of faith, I believe everybody needs God. Why?

●God loves us, his creation, and while God may not prevent bad things from happening to us, God will help us through them. However, if we don’t have a relationship with God, it will be difficult for God to break through to us to help and guide us in times of crisis.

●We don’t always know what’s best for us, but God does. If we pray for guidance, God will give it to us.

●God created us to be in relationship with him. Ignoring God means we aren’t fulfilling our purpose in life.

●As a Christian, I believe Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Living without Jesus means we are living an incomplete life now, and who knows where we’ll end up when our earthly life is over?

I wish people were more open-minded about God, faith, and the church. However, when people are apathetic, hostile, or angry, they aren’t going to be open to hearing the message. I believe this country (and the world) would be much better off if people took Scripture seriously, trusted in God, and loved one another as Jesus commanded. As we continue to turn our backs on God, I believe things will continue to deteriorate in this country and the world. Why should God bless us when we systematically remove him from our lives?

I pray that revival will come, starting right here in the good old US of A. What a difference it would make!

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